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Insider Mailing: Post-Nike Reveal Edition


Is the Nike deal truly a “better” deal for Tennessee than their deal with Adidas? And, if so, why? – Frederick from Farragut

Houston: Put simply, yes. Nike is on top of the college football world when it comes to exposure, marketing, quality of gear, fan apparel, footwear…etc. for all of the teams that wear the Swoosh, and especially those that Nike deems as “Nike Elite” – which Tennessee is. All the talk has been rightfully focused on football, but let’s not forget how big of an impact this partnership could have on the basketball programs. We had heard rumors that the basketball program would be looking to wear Kevin Durant’s and LeBron James’ shoes, and the Game of Jones photoshop lends some credence to that rumor. The potential of Air Jordan is also out there (potentially even for football), based on some rumblings we have heard, and Rick Barnes’ longtime relationship with the folks at Nike should help Tennessee Basketball get their foot in the door pretty quickly.

Another huge note from the deal with Nike is that while Tennessee’s bottom-line cash payment from Nike on a year-to-year basis isn’t as high as it was with Adidas, they will likely make more money – and quickly – due to the added percentage the university will get from apparel sales. Those numbers are already through the roof, and only expected to climb as more and more new gear is made available. If Tennessee can win on the field and continue to sell gear at a high clip, look for Nike and the university to restructure that contract fairly quickly.

Daniel: The contract was up with adidas, so regardless, there would’ve been a new deal on the table this year – either a re-signing with adidas, the deal with Nike or another apparel provider (Under Armour is the only other company with any kind of significant market share right now).

So, I look at it by asking the question of if Nike was the best deal of those three? It’s really hard to say without seeing the full offer from the others. But even if Nike didn’t offer the best financial terms overall (and maybe they did for all I know), it was probably still the best choice to go with them for many of the same reasons Houston said. Recruiting, exposure and the fact that I genuinely believe the players feel like they play better are all huge pluses for Nike. I’ve cited this example before, but every time former UT players showed up at their Pro Day, they were usually wearing Nike – meaning the first time they got the chance to shed the University-mandated adidas deal, they did it.

Is mayonnaise an instrument? – @DanielShelton33


Houston: Are pickles tools?

Any chance that Butch&Co have another uniform up there sleeve? i.e. a special Stormtrooper? – @richmond_325

Houston: I have no hard evidence to support this claim, but my gut says 100% yes and I think that an alternate Stormtrooper is where it’s at. There is no doubt that Nike knows how much Vol fans love the Stormtrooper look, and my guess is that they have a special-edition “white-out” uniform that they’ll bust out at some point. My guess is that it will closely resemble what Oregon wore in the National Championship game, but that’s strictly a hunch.

Reed: This seems to be asked every year, and maybe this year will be different because of Nike, but we’ve literally, to my knowledge, only seen something like this happen once in my lifetime (2009 black uniform slaughter of South Carolina). So I’ll let history be my guide and say no for now.

If I get an orange swoosh tattoo, will I be judged? – @BucketHeadTN

Daniel: My only word of caution is that all good things come to an end. Specifically, the Nike contract only runs through 2023, so you’re gambling on them re-upping or else you’ll be pulling a Reuben Foster.

Houston: Swiftly and harshly, but I think most people would approve of it at this point. Also, location of said tattoo would play a huge role in potential judgement.

Reed: An orange swoosh tattoo could work and is honestly probably better than 99% of the tattoos out there in circulation – but location would definitely play an important role. No lower back, foot, neck or face placement.

What coach are you going most forward to seeing at SEC Media Days that isn’t Butch Jones. I have my guesses, but wanted to see it in writing. – Dan D.

Houston: For comedic reasons, Spurrier and Les Miles are at the top of the list and always will be. If I had to pick one, I’d probably go with Les due to his unique dialect and overall wizardry regarding the english language. He’s smart, he’s funny, he likable, oh, and he’s a pretty good football coach.

Daniel: It’s always going to be Les and Steve. Hugh Freeze is going to face the firing squad with these Laremy Tunsil allegations as well, so that should be interesting. Kevin Sumlin and Bret Bielema are underrated as well – those guys are original thinkers that provide some good thoughts sometimes.

Reed: Spurrier highlights every SEC event for me and that won’t ever change. I am anxious to see how Hugh Freeze handles all the allegations swirling around Tunsil – that has the potential to be the story of SEC Media Days.

If a man wanted to buy some Vol-themed (or just orange) Nike shoes, which ones are acceptable for everyday use? – Tim Stapp

Houston: These, but not these.    These are cool, although perhaps a touch loud. These are loud, and absolutely not cool.

Good shoe.   Bad shoe.

Great shoe.   Horrific shoe.

Choose wisely.

What can we expect out of Josh Malone this year? – Blake Creekmur 

Daniel: I’m thinking it’ll be a moderate jump and it could depend on Von Pearson’s status and the health of some of the other guys. I could see him averaging 3-4 catches a game and finishing the year with 400-500 yards. I think if he’s going to reach his potential, that might be in 2016 or 17.

Reed: I’m with Daniel here. Malone has a tremendous set of tools, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s mentally ready to put everything together and be a dominant receiver. I do expect him to be better, though. Expect incremental improvement unless he shows up to fall camp with a dramatically different mental composition.

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